Dabur Foods’ attempt to go national with its branded packaged soup seems to be froth with hurdles. The product—launched in one variant under its Hommade brand—has been in a test-marketing phase in select cities since October last.
Though Dabur has announced that the product will be launched nationally by September 2004, the company’s inability to find a single sub-contractor to produce and package soups in various variants is delaying its national launch.
Launched in October last, Dabur’s Hommade tomato soups were being initially sub-contracted from Godrej Foods at its facility in Nagpur. However, since Dabur wants to add more variants as it goes national, it is believed to be looking for a single sub-contractor who can co-pack more than one variant.
“We are looking at a single plant where Hommade soups can be manufactured in various variants,” Dabur Foods head Sanjay Sharma told FE. Dabur plans to launch at least two more variants, once it goes national. The variant currently being test-marketed is tomato soup and is priced at Rs 16 for a 200 gm pack.
Dabur’s Hommade brand under which it already sells pastes, tomato puree, coconut milk and chutneys grew by 28 per cent last year.
Estimated to be a Rs 40-crore market, the branded packaged soups category is growing at 20 per cent. Nestle’s Maggi, which pioneered the branded packaged soup, is believed to be the market leader followed by Hindustan Lever’s Knorr Annapurna. Recently, co-operative major Gujarat Co-operative Milk Federation (Amul), and the south based MTR Foods have also joined the fray.
Dabur’s Hommade soup, however, the company insists is different in that it comes in liquid form against the powdered form offered by competition.